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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I’ve been blogging for 7 years, and I simply cannot imagine my life without Sweetest Menu. I love creating recipes, photographing desserts and writing about food. But what I love even more, is my online community – that’s you!
I often receive emails and questions on Instagram about me and my blog, so I’ve put together a few frequently asked questions below. I know blogging can seem like a mysterious hobby or job, so let me pull back the curtain and show you a little behind-the-scenes.
What do you do with all your baking?
This is the question I get asked the most, especially in person. And the short answer is, I eat it. Seriously though, I have to try everything I make. The leftovers get eaten by family, friends, work colleagues or wrapped up and popped in the freezer for later.
When you’re recipe testing, a lot of what you make fails and ends up in the bin – it’s simply a fact of the job. Baking also has a limited shelf life, and most things are best eaten on the day they are made.
Another factor that many people don’t take into account is that when you photograph food, it’s often a little destroyed in the process. Cookies are broken in half to get the perfect shot, cakes are cut multiple times, ice cream melts and most of it has your fingerprints all over it.
It’s not always in the best condition after a photo shoot, so you can only give it to people who don’t mind cookie crumbs and smooshed icing.
Is blogging your full time job?
No, I currently work full time and blogging is simply my out-of-hours passion. I blog before work, after work and on the weekends.
Yes! After 6 years of working full time and blogging on the side, Sweetest Menu is now my full time thing.
How did you balance blogging and full time work?
It was a balancing act but I developed a routine that allowed me to blog consistently despite having limited time. I’ll be honest – it did occupy most weeknights and half of my weekend, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I prioritised what I could, stuck to a schedule and let the rest go. My priorities were publishing two new blog posts a week, answering reader comments and questions, and being present and active on Instagram. Everything else, I just got to it when I could. #noguilt
I actually talk more about this and my blogging journey as a whole in my interview with Marly on the Chopped Podcast.
What does a typical day as a food blogger look like?
Most days will involve tasks like brainstorming new recipe ideas, going grocery shopping, recipe testing, photographing new recipes, editing photos, writing blog posts, answering emails and comments and scheduling social media.
Unfortunately, it’s like having a to-do list that simply never ends. As soon as you write and publish one blog post, it’s time to do the next one.
The most time-consuming aspects of food blogging for me are recipe testing, taking and editing the photos and writing the blog posts.
How did you learn food photography?
Food photography is really hard. When I started this blog in 2014, I had never even held a DSLR camera and I certainly didn’t own one. I started out by taking photos using my iphone. But over time, I began to enjoy learning about food photography, the art of styling food for the camera and the importance of lighting.
When I first started blogging, I bought Lindsay’s Tasty Food Photography ebook which was VERY helpful. I highly recommend it – especially for beginners who are trying to learn how to use a camera and understand the different settings like ISO and aperture.
But there is something to be said for the age-old saying, practice makes perfect.
I take loads of photos. Every time I photograph a recipe, I’ll take at least 50 photos. It’s a lot I know – I used to take 100 photos per recipe so there’s progress. But I’m still learning and it can take a while to get that ‘money shot.’
I have a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud and use both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop to edit my photos and I shoot only in natural light. I will be honest though, I recently upgraded my camera and lens and I can 100% see the difference.
Most people say you don’t need good equipment to take good photos – that may be true, but it sure does help! So when you can afford it, I do recommend buying the best camera and lens you can.
What camera equipment do you use?
I started out with a basic Nikon camera (it’s so old, they don’t even sell it anymore), and used that for 5 years. I recently upgraded to a Canon 6D Mark II. My main lens is the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, which is wonderful for up close food photography. I don’t often use a tripod anymore.
How did you start your website?
I started my website for free using Blogger back in 2014. As it grew and turned into a business, I moved over to WordPress. I purchased my domain through NameCheap and BigScoots is my website host.
I tried one of your recipes and it didn’t work. What did I do wrong?
First of all, thank you for trying one of my recipes. And please know that my intent is always to create a recipe that works for everyone. In saying that, baking is a science and so many things can effect the outcome of a recipe, such as your oven, your ingredients, your equipment and even the climate and temperature of your location.
If this does happen, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can troubleshoot together.
I tried one of your recipes and loved it! Can I show you?
Please do! I absolutely LOVE seeing your baking creations! The easiest way to show me is on Instagram using the hashtag #sweetestmenu. And don’t forget to rate the recipe too. Not only does it brighten my day, but it helps other readers who are thinking about making the recipe.